Why the Fairness Doctrine is anything BUT Fair


Let’s say you’re having a conversation with five of your friends about the issue of abortion.  All of you are against abortion under any circumstances so it’s not really a debate because you are discussing the issues, but since you all agree, it is peaceful discussion about the horrible aspects of abortion.  Before you finish your conversation, another friend joins you and she states that she opposes any restrictions on abortion.  You listen respectfully as she shares her views, even though you do not agree with her.  During the course of the conversation, two of your other friends become upset about the issue so they politely walk away. 

Now you are still having a discussion and four of you are pro-life and one is pro-abortion. 

How would you feel if someone else walked up and said, “Gee… you know.  This is an unbalanced conversation.  Your friend’s point of view is not equally represented so we need to go find three more pro-abortion people to participate in this discussion.”  And that’s what they do, but here’s the problem.  They won’t even allow you to continue with your discussion until they have found those three other people, but since most of the people where you live are pro-life, they can’t find anyone else to agree with your friend so they just tell you that you can’t have the discussion at all.

It doesn’t matter that you never asked for the other point of view.  It doesn’t matter that you didn’t force any of these people to participate.  It doesn’t matter that it is your own property where you are having this discussion.

The Fairness Doctrine is anything BUT fair.  It is unconstitutional and it infringes upon the rights of those original citizens to express their views without the infringement or regulation of the government. 

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

How much clearer can it get?  This is easy to understand. 

Notice the fact that this is a “protective” amendment.  The amendment is established to PROTECT the people from the government.  The government is not supposed to make laws prohibiting the exercise of religion, freedom of speech, the right to assemble peaceably, or to petition the government regarding grievances.  This does not say Congress must do something.  It says Congress must not do something.

Since we now have a liberal Congress, Senate, and president and we are most likely going to have a majority of liberal Supreme Court justices, there is a likelihood that many old policies that the Democrats have tried to pass in the past will now be revisited.  I saw on the news today that one of the issues that may be brought up again is the Fairness Doctrine. 

Although this article does a good job of describing the basics of the most recent legislation concerning the Fairness Doctrine, the article is a little difficult to understand.  I’ve included the link so that you will understand the most current legislation, which failed.

Some of the comments about “why” we need this type of legislation are ridiculous at best.  For example, in a 2005 essay about the Fairness Doctrine, Steve Rendall comments:

“Nationally, virtually all of the leading political talkshow hosts are right-wingers: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Oliver North, G. Gordon Liddy, Bill O’Reilly and Michael Reagan, to name just a few. The same goes for local talkshows. One product of the post-Fairness era is the conservative “Hot Talk” format, featuring one right-wing host after another and little else. Disney-owned KSFO in liberal San Francisco is one such station (Extra!, 3–4/95). Some towns have two.”

What Mr. Rendall fails to recognize or point out is the fact that these radio stations are privately owned and privately funded.  This would be kind of like going into each neighborhood in the United States and saying, “Gee… you know, there are too many conservatives in this neighborhood.  Let’s make a few of them sell their houses to liberals.”  And vice versa.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense to do that when the conservatives (or liberals) owning those houses have PAID for their homes and they’ve CHOSEN where they want to live and if they don’t like it, they can always choose to move on their own.  If someone doesn’t want to listen to a conservative Christian talk show host, change the station!!

According to the Federal Communications Commission website, this agency is:

“an independent United States government agency. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC’s jurisdiction covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. possessions.”

The role of Congress is not to restrict one type of belief or commentary simply to ensure that the opposing commentary is presented equally.  The role of Congress, based on the First Amendment, is to ENSURE that individuals have the freedom to express their belief without fear.  It also states that there shall be no law “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”  Abridge means to shorten, reduce, abbreviate, etc.”  The government should never pass a law restricting one person’s (or groups’) rights to freedom of speech simply because the other view is not as common.  We’ve become a society where the minority is being treated like it is a majority.  As long as their rights aren’t being infringed upon, it is unconstitutional to force the rest of us to listen to the minority opinion just because they want equal “airtime” (literally in the case of Fairness Doctrine). 

Sonya

www.sonyahaskins.com

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